Book Review: The Fireman

The Fireman
By Joe Hill

My Edition:
Paperback, 752 pages
2016, William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062565334

A plague, commonly referred to as Dragonscale, has swept the world, leaving victims covered swirling patterns of scales that will eventually ignite, burning the host alive. Harper Grayson is a nurse, working in a hospital to assist the afflicted when she catches the ‘Scale herself. Initially, she’d make a death pact with her husband, should they become infected, but when she realizes she’s pregnant she decides she wants to live. When her crazed husband tries to kill her, Harper is saved by a man who can set himself on fire at will and she follows him to a camp of refugees who embrace the ‘Scale and seek to survive the end of the world.

Whoa. I figured I’d like this beast of a book, but I never expected it to be so damn addicting!

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Book Review: Horns

20141109_124927Horns
By Joe Hill

My Edition:
Paperback, 397 pages
2010, HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780061147968

From the back of the book: Merrin Williams is dead, slaughtered under inexplicable circumstances, leaving her beloved boyfriend ignatius Perrish as the only suspect. On the first anniversary of Merrin’s murder, IG spends the night drunk and doing awful things. When he wakes the next morning he has a thunderous hangover…and horns growing from his temples. Ig possesses a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look – a macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his lover. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. Now it’s time for revenge…it’s time the devil had his due. 

What I liked:
Joe Hill did it again – once I started this book I hated to tear myself away. What really grabbed me about Horns was the characters. Hill’s writing made me forget that I was reading his work, rather, I felt like I was actually inside his characters. I was so transported by the – sometimes horrible – thoughts and actions of the characters that they felt real to me; I had to constantly remind myself I was reading a work of fiction.

This book was scary, but not in the usual sense. What freaked me out, was the horrible thoughts Ig was hearing from his friends and family. His horns brought out their compulsion to speak their worst thoughts and desires and I couldn’t help but imagine myself in his position. That’s a power I would never want! I had to try hard not to think about what awful things the people I know might be thinking as I went about my normal life.

One of the scariest moments for me was when one of the male characters in the book was misinterpreting everything the female was saying and doing and it eventually lead to violence. Unfortunately this could be a real scenario and being inside that character’s head was chilling:

“The thing about Merrin was that she didn’t always mean what she said but often said things that were in direct opposition to her intentions.”

I even found some of his descriptions gross, even though nothing scary or gory was happening:

“She held [the box] in place, shoved her face into it, and began to eat. She made noises while she chewed, smacking her lips and breathing strangely. She gagged again, her shoulders hitching, but kept eating, using her free hand to push more doughnut into her mouth, even though her cheeks were already swollen and full.”

It’s not all bad though. I really enjoyed the imagery in this quote:

“The service ended, and conversation rose like water filling a tub, the church a container with a particular volume, its natural quiet quickly displaced by noise.”

As usual, Hill’s work kept me interested and I flew through this book. I know there were probably times when I was younger that I wished I could read minds, but like Merrin said:

“The people you love should be allowed to keep their worst to themselves.”

What I didn’t like:
I don’t completely dislike the ending, but it made me go “huh?” and I couldn’t quite picture what was happening. I don’t think it was as strong as the rest of the book, and while I can’t think of an alternative, it seemed to just drop off. It doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a solid book.

~

If you’ve already read something by Joe Hill and liked it, you’ll probably like Horns. If you’re looking for a more alternative style of horror, check out this book. If you’re bored or have a lot of time on your hands, check out this book! Basically, just go read it, then tell me what you thought.

 

Surprise! Joe Hill!

I haven’t mentioned it here, but sometimes social media really drives me crazy (ie: people use it to complain about businesses, people update every boring second of their lives, I can’t go anywhere without someone tagging me at whatever location we’re in), though it has its merits. So tonight, I was running some errands and stopped to grab some Pizza Hut bread sticks (anyone else think they’re amazing?) and while I was snacking on them, I just decided to check my Twitter feed.

I follow a few authors now that I’m back in the Twitter scene (I want to seek out more, I’m just lazy) and one of them is Joe Hill. I’m scrolling through random updates, then suddenly I see that he’s mentioned my town. He was doing a book signing at my local Barnes & Noble (promoting his new graphic novel, Wraith)! I happened to be right across the street and totally free, so I ran right over there. I don’t know about you, but I honestly don’t see out many book signings or events, so to stumble upon one like this was really exciting!

He's so tall!

He’s so tall!

As I arrived he had started some Q&A and he’s really down to earth and funny – very casual. When he was finished he signed books. So I grabbed a copy of Heart Shaped Box, since I don’t own that. I also had him sign a copy of Locke & Key for Mum, since she introduced me to his work. There were less people there than I thought, so it was easy to wait for the signing and I even had a picture taken with him! I had a blast – this is only the second signing/event I’ve ever been to, and the fact that I just happened to look at Twitter at the right time really shocks me!

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Funny story behind the signing – I spelled my name for him, then as he was writing it out, he said “Two M’s?” and wrote a second M before I could correct him. I told him it was just one and laughed – I was totally ready to let the typo go. But he crossed it out and fessed up to his mistake on the page. :] Then he told a little anecdote about how he met a man at a signing and kept referring to him as Bill, even though the man kept saying his name was Jim. It got to the point where he accidentally signed Bill in the book and Jim just left it at that. Then Jim showed up at another signing a few years later and had him sign the book for Bill, and told him the story – Joe remembered him! Then as he was writing Mum’s name he asked if there were two M’s. The girl behind me was Heather and he asked if she had two M’s too.

Overall it was just a really great surprise – especially on a Wednesday! Have you been to a lot of book signings?

Book Review: NOS4A2

 

NOS4A2
By Joe Hill

My Edition:
Paperback, 692 pages
2013, William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062200587

4/5 stars

Victoria McQueen discovered at a young age that when something really needed to be found, she could get on her bicycle and ride through a covered bridge, always coming out right where she needed to be. Charles Manx has a car with a strange power too – he can use it to bring children to a world he calls Christmasland. While on the road his powers and imagination suck the life out of the children, transforming them into soulless monsters, much like their kidnapper. One day Victoria goes riding for trouble and stumbles upon Manx’s house – she’s the only child who ever escaped him and he’s determined for revenge.

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